Brewer: 'Sky's the limit' for Knicks' D
September, 15, 2012
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Ian Begley for ESPNNewYork.comRonnie Brewer joined Bald Vinny and the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium.The Knicks, as you know, made several headline-grabbing moves in the offseason.
They let Jeremy Lin go to Houston and brought Ray Felton back. They added Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby to the mix and re-signed Mike Woodson.
There's one acquisition, though, that may have been overlooked amid all those moves: the Ronnie Brewer signing.
When it's all said and done, Brewer could turn out to be one of the most important additions to the Knicks' lineup because of what he brings on defense.
With Brewer, Tyson Chandler, Camby and a healthy Iman Shumpert on the roster, defense is expected to be a calling card of sorts for Woodson's Knicks.
So, just how good can this team be on the defensive end?
"I think the sky's the limit," Brewer said on Friday night.
After struggling to get stops for much of the Mike D'Antoni era, New York made a significant improvement on defense last year.
With Chandler in the middle, the Knicks finished fifth in the league defensive efficiency (a measure of points allowed per 100 possessions), up from 21st in 2010-11. Chandler was named Defensive Player of the Year and Shumpert established himself as one of the top young perimeter defenders in the league.
Brewer believes that the addition of himself and Camby, among others, can make the Knicks even more stingy this year.
"I think with those ingredients, we're going to a very dangerous," he said.
With Shumpert (ACL) out until at least December, Brewer is expected to start at shooting guard and, the Knicks hope, provide the kind of perimeter defense that a healthy Shumpert would have.
Felton is an aggressive defender, Camby is one of the top rebounders in the league and Kidd, even at an advanced age, is considered a strong wing defender.
At issue, of course, is what Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony bring on defense.
Both stars are seen as weak links on the defensive end.
Brewer, though, believes that defense can be infectious. And Stoudemire and Anthony -- along with the rest of the roster -- can easily catch the bug.
"With Coach Woodson being a defensive-mentality coach (and) when you see guys like Tyson, myself and Shump giving that extra effort, to me it's contagious," Brewer said.
"It's human nature for a player to jump on the floor if they see their teammates doing it. ... If you see somebody going hard to the boards and giving it their all, you feel like it's your duty. You've got to do that."
On Anthony and Stoudemire, Brewer added: "I think Amare and Carmelo have it in them. They're athletic, they're basketball IQ is high. It's just the realization that we've all got to come together and be on the same page defensively. If we do that, we're going to be real good team."
RONNIE HANGS WITH BLEACHER CREATURES: Brewer spent Friday night hanging out in the Bronx, watching the Yankees-Rays game. He spent time on the field before the game and was in the right-field bleachers to take part in the role call with Vinny "Bald Vinny" Milano and the Bleacher Creatures.
Brewer yelled out to Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, A-Rod and the rest of the position players in the top of the first and hung out with fans, taking dozens of pictures and shaking hands.
"It was awesome," said Brewer, whose expected to return from a medial meniscus tear in time for opening night. "I didn't know anything about it (before Friday)."
On the roll call, he added: "I think that pushed those guys more than anybody really knows."
FOUNDATION PLANS: Brewer has plans for his foundation in New York. His charity, The Ronnie Brewer Foundation, seeks to aid in the educational and athletic development of children in the community.
It's based in Arkansas, where Brewer's from, but the 27-year-old said he plans to work with Boys & Girls clubs in New York to help Big Apple families and youth in need.
"Whatever city I'm in, I feel likes it's your duty to be in the community and do your part," Brewer said. "I try to do as much as I can in the community back home as well as the community I'm in."
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.